READING OF THE DAY
First reading from the Book of Isaiah
Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.
Second reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans
Brothers and sisters:
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing
compared with the glory to be revealed for us.
For creation awaits with eager expectation
the revelation of the children of God;
for creation was made subject to futility,
not of its own accord but because of the one who subjected it,
in hope that creation itself
would be set free from slavery to corruption
and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God.
We know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now;
and not only that, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
we also groan within ourselves
as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
GOSPEL OF THE DAY
From the Gospel according to Matthew
On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:
“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”
WORDS OF THE HOLY FATHER
The sower is Jesus. With this image, we can see that he presents himself as one who does not impose himself, but rather offers himself. He does not attract us by conquering us, but by donating himself: he casts seeds. Let us ask ourselves if our heart is open to welcome the seed of the Word of God with faith. Let us ask ourselves if our rocks of laziness are still numerous and large; let us identify our thorns of vice and call them by name. Let us find the courage to reclaim the soil, to effect a nice conversion of our heart, bringing to the Lord in Confession and in prayer our rocks and our thorns. In doing this, Jesus, the Good Sower will be glad to carry out an additional task: purify our hearts by removing the rocks and the thorns which choke his Word. (Angelus, 16 July 2017)
On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore. Matthew 13:1-2
This is not a common experience. It is clear that people were in such awe of our Lord that they were drawn to Him with a holy and divine attraction. The crowds were mesmerized by Jesus and they hung on His every word. They were so drawn to Him that they crowded along the shore to listen as Jesus spoke from the boat.
This Gospel story should pose a question to you on a personal level. Are you drawn to Jesus in a similar way? There are many things we find ourselves drawn to. It may be some hobby, or a personal interest, perhaps it’s your job or some other aspect of your life. But what about our Lord and His holy Word? How drawn to Him are you?
Ideally, we should discover within our hearts a burning desire to be with Jesus, to know Him, love Him and encounter His mercy more fully in our lives. There should be a tug on our hearts that is placed there by Jesus Himself. This tug becomes a divine attraction that becomes the central motivation for our lives. From this attraction we respond to Him, listen to Him and give our lives more fully to Him. This is a grace given to those who are open and are ready and willing to hear and respond.
Reflect, today, upon the merciful Heart of our Lord calling you to turn to Him with all the powers of your soul. Allow Him to draw you in and respond by giving your time and attention to Him. From there, He will lead you where He desires you to go.
Lord, my life is Yours. Please draw me into Your most merciful Heart. Help me to be mesmerized by Your splendor and goodness. I give to You all the powers of my soul, dear Lord. Please take me and lead me according to Your most holy will. Jesus, I trust in You.